Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saint Vitus 'Die Healing'

A few years ago, when I first start to heavily get into doom metal, there was a guy at the local Newbury Comics that would scoff at me for not being very familiar with some of the classics...mainly Saint Vitus. I'd downloaded their early albums, Hallow's Victim and Born Too Late, but they never grabbed me out of the gate, so I didn't spend much time with them.

The Bravewords site has a thing called Knuckle Tracks, where they feature new songs from bands, and since I know so little about the Saint Vitus catalog, when they posted the song One Mind on their radio, I assumed the band had a new album coming out. I figured that I'd check it out, and was surprisingly knocked on my ass with how good it was. After some research, I discovered that the song was from their 1995 album, Die Healing. I love discovering buried treasures like this!

The entire album is heavy doom brilliance. It seems like everyone associates Saint Vitus with singer Wino, but this reunion LP with their original singer, Scott Reagers, is by far may favorite. " comes the sloth"!

There wasn't a whole lot of vinyl being pressed when this album was originally released in 1995. In fact, Die Healing didn't finally get the vinyl treatment until 2010. This copy is from the 2013 reissue. Limited to 300 on this bright, transparent yellow vinyl.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sealed Seaweed

I love reading record collector blogs. I love checking out pictures of new and old vinyl, and reading what people have to say. Every once in a while, someone will write something so well, I will feel compelled to check out a band that I would have otherwise ignored. In this case it was a Seaweed test press post from Marcus. This wasn't his first Seaweed post, but test pressings make me sit up and take notice.

Seaweed were around in the early to mid-90′s, right when I first started obsessing about Hardcore/Punk, but somehow, this band never showed up on my radar. I’m not sure if it was because they were on a big label, and I was too cool for that…or maybe it was because I always associated Sub Pop with Nirvana/Grunge and had no interest in that sound. Whatever it was, I’d never bothered to check them out. When Marcus posted the test pressing for Seaweed’s second album, Four, on his blog…and spoke so highly of it, I figured that I’d humor him and check it out. Much to my surprise, it blew me away. I couldn’t get enough of it, and I found myself listening to it 2 or 3 times in a day.

I knew that I needed it on vinyl, and assumed it would be an easy find on eBay. I mean, it was released by Sub Pop, and pressed only on black vinyl…how hard could it be to track one down? Turns out it wasn’t as easy as I thought. The few copies that would pop up on eBay, seemed to always have some ridiculous Buy It Now price. While I desperately wanted a copy, I wasn’t going to blow my load prematurely. Patience was the name of the game, and after waiting it out for a month or so, I received an email from eBay, alerting me that one was available. The price was still a bit high, but it was a dead mint sealed copy, so I pulled the trigger. Easily one of my favorite surprises this year.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I Serve... Metal

Metal seems to consume me lately. It dominates my daily playlists. My time on eBay is spent searching for original Metal pressings. I've subscribed to Iron Fist magazine, and I'm downloading tons of new and old Metal bands to check out. I'm obsessed.

I recently stopped by my local Bull Moose record store to just look around and kill some time. Walking out empty handed was an impossible mission once I started flipping through the Metal vinyl.

I really like all the Toxic Holocaust stuff, and last years Chemistry Of Consciousness LP continues Joel Grind's full on Thrash attack. It's probably not as good as 2011's killer Conjure And Command, but this is still some solid Metal. Fast, buzz-saw guitar riffs and shredded vocals from start to finish.

Sometimes I really try to track down the limited color vinyl pressing for Metal releases. However, after spending a couple of weeks on eBay looking at nothing but original black vinyl pressings from the 80's, the vinyl color didn't seem that important as I was standing in the store with the physical record in my hand.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Losing My Grippe

"I'm no longer going to buy needless reissues". I've repeated those words over and over countless times. I'm going to avoid getting sucked into a trap of endless vinyl repressings for bands that I don't care enough about to collect. I'm going to save my money and put it towards something a bit more useful. I have the best of intentions...

I like Jawbox. LIKE. I've never lost my mind over them. They were good enough for me to buy their two Dischord LPs back in the day, but these days I rarely gave them much of a thought.

Then Marcus posted about Dischord's recent repress of the Grippe LP. That was when my resolve started to show cracks.

His picture of that purple vinyl...goddamn looked so good. I suddenly felt the desire to not only give the album a spin, but to also buy this good looking repress.

After dusting off my original Dischord press of Grippe, I found that I had to do the same with their second LP, Novelty. Amazing. I found myself listening to both of these albums repeatedly, and I was surprised by how much I was loving this band.

Shortly after Jawbox released Novelty in 1992, they moved to Atlantic Records...and being on a major label at that time was a kiss of death for me. I never bothered with anything the band released from 1993 forward.

Being on this big Jawbox kick, I felt adventurous, and decided to give 1994's For Your Own Special Sweetheart a try. Damn! I love finding surprises like this, and being proven wrong. What a great album, and not much of a departure from what they'd been doing with Dischord. Since I couldn't immediately find a vinyl copy of this LP available, I decided to grab the Motorist / Jackpot Plus 7 inch single instead. Both of these songs would end up on For Your Own Special Sweetheart, but I didn't mind spending a couple bucks for this record.

My last cheap Jawbox grab was for a split that the band did with Crackerbash. The Jawbox song, Falk, is only an instrumental, and I don't really care about the other band, so this was a bit of a throw away, but I'm still glad that I can tuck this in with my other 7 inches.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Satan Worship

Satan were a big name in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene 30 years ago. After releasing Court In The Act back in 1983, the line up was back together to release a brand new album in 2013. Damn, is it possible for bands to still put something worthwhile together after that many years? In this case, the answer is yes.

I was a bit hesitant at first. I downloaded the album and gave it a few listens, but I wasn't really paying much attention it. It sat on my ipod, pretty much ignored through out last year. Around October, I was hanging out on the Bravewords messageboard, and dudes were really talking up this album. I'll admit it, the hype they were generating had me going back to give it another listen. I'm glad that I did, because this record is fucking solid...sounds like it would have been a perfect follow up for the band to release in '84 or '85. Just what I want from a Metal band in 2013.

Of course the vinyl was only available overseas, so when I was placing a recent order with Nuclear Blast Germany, I took the opportunity to grab a copy on white vinyl.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Knocked Down

Back when I picked up those Worn Thin records from eBay's dollar bin, that same seller also had some other Youngblood vinyl that I had my eye on. In the end, I needed to open my wallet a bit wider for the Lights Out vinyl that I needed, and in my effort to get out as cheap as possible, I only walked away with one other record.

I really wasn't that familiar with Knockdown. I have their discography CD that Youngblood threw in for free with one of my orders a few years ago, but for one reason or another, I never spent much time listening to it. Still, we are talking Youngblood here, so when I saw the opportunity to grab this record for a dollar, I took it.

Money well spent, because I'm loving this 7 inch. A great blend of Negative Approach and Youth Of Today.

300 pressed on clear vinyl.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

...Shall Be Judged and Reissued

When I was a kid, I collected Star Wars trading cards. I blew a lot of lawn mowing money on those things. I remember walking to the corner store, picking up a few packs, chewing on the cardboard flavored gum, and flipping through them to see which new ones I could add to the collection. One of my favorite things about collecting those cards was the checklist, where you could tick off each new one you recieved in your attempt to build a complete collection.

At this point, it would be really helpful if someone could put together one of those checklists for REV reissues. Seriously. I feel like I'm so lost at this point. What have I missed? And the question has to be asked...if I missed one, would I really be fussed to track it down and buy it at this point?

I still haven't stepped up to buy a pink vinyl copy of the Burn record, so every time I buy a reissue I feel guilty and inadequate. Still, this blue vinyl looks great. 487 pressed.

In an attempt to beef up my order, I was reviewing the latest vinyl from REV and discovered that Side By Side had been pressed on grey. I have no idea when this happened, but I'll gladly take a copy. Another REV release that I'll keep buying. Limited to 547 on grey.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Grand Triumph

I know that we aren't even three months into the year, but it doesn't change my opinion that Grand Magus probably just released what will be my favorite Metal album for the year.

When Sandwell first introduced me to Grand Magus a couple of years ago, I wasn't really feeling it. Because I trust opinion on all things Metal, I didn't give up on it immediately, and over time they started to sink their claws into me. By the time I picked up The Hunt last year, I was full on hooked on what this band was doing.

When it was announced that a new album was due this year, I eagerly waited to hear what Grand Magus would deliver.

My expectations were set pretty high, and could not resist the urge to listen to a preview when the video for the title track was posted. I was a bit let down when the song initially started, but by the end of it I was completely sucked in...singing along to the chorus and throwing up the devil horns. Hail!

Now, I loved The Hunt, but Triumph And Power somehow improves on the Grand Magus sound. This album consumes me, and I can't get enough of it right now.

When it came time to order the new album, no expense was spared, and I made sure to grab the limited vinyl pressing from Nuclear Blast Germany. Hand numbered and limited to 250 on white vinyl.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Build To Break

I love Uniform Choice's Screaming For Change, yet until it was repressed on vinyl two years ago, I hadn't made any moves to obtain one. Even now, having four copies of the repressed vinyl, I still feel no great desire to chase an original pressing. I mean, I'd like to get them someday, but I guess I've just got my eye on other prizes right now.

This time around we get two new on blue, and one on white. I guess that spending $12 for a repress is more attractive than spending a couple hundred dollars for an original, because I didn't hesitate to pick these two up.

It does bother me that there is no lyric sheet insert with these reissues. I feel like I'm being short changed. I guess if I do want one with a lyric sheet, maybe I'd better start thinking about one of those first pressings.

I actually had this post queued up to write early next week, but since Marcus posted about these records yesterday, I figured that I'd move mine to the top of the pile. The main reason being that the stickers on my copies are different than the colored vinyl stickers on the ones he received. I know...record collecting is pretty mind blowing stuff.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Getting Xtra Raw With RXR

Grabbed a few second pressings from REACT! recently.

The WarXgames 7 inch is a total ripper from start to finish. The first press was limited to only 500 pieces, so I'm not surprised to see another pressing for it.

Second press is limited to 150 on clear, 350 on red vinyl.

Man, I love the Angel Du$t 7 inch. I was listening to it the other day, and had to go back to my 2013 Top Ten list to see where I should have placed it in the year end ranking. This record is such a blast to listen to...I'd have to make room for it somewhere in there. Slam!

Second pressing is limited to 250 on blue, and 750 on yellow.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Admiral Sir Black Sheep

Despite the band's name being a mouthful, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell released a fantastic debut LP back in 2012. I was excited to hear that they have a new full length due out this year, and when Rise Above put up preorders for a new 7 inch to whet our appetites, I jumped on it.

Man, this thing rules. The a-side, Black Sheep, is pretty cool, but the b-side, Elementary Man is kicking my ass. Holy shit, what a great song. I can't get enough. That new full length needs to drop soon!

Like most releases from Rise Above, there was a run of 100 on clear vinyl.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Lost In Backtrack

I really enjoyed the last Backtrack album, Darker Half. It was much better than I was expecting, yet for some reason, I really wasn't all that interested in their latest release, Lost In Life.

I think the main cause of my indifference was the strong similarities between the new cover artwork, and what we saw with Darker Half. I assume that the band was looking for some consistency with the look of their albums, but for me, it just seemed boring. Because of this, I ignored the Bridge Nine preorders. No sweat. 2014 has started with a strong Metal presence on my playlists, and I figured that I could wait on the new Backtrack. I was too busy banging my head, and throwing up devil horns to be concerned about checking out this new album.

When Bridge Nine announced that they were doing a second press of Lost In Life, I finally started to pay attention. The second press was some horrible florescent green and orange color, so if I wanted the best looking vinyl of the bunch, I'd better grab the blue and white split color from the first press before it sold out.

After placing my order, I decided to check out my instant download from B9. I'm not sure why I was so surprised, but this album is amazing! It reminded me what I loved so much about Darker Half, and somehow managed to improve upon it. If you were disappointed that the new Down To Nothing record was missing that harder edge like they had on The Most, this new Backtrack album is for you.

While I was in the Bridge Nine store, I took the opportunity to pick up the newest pressing of Have Heart's The Things We Carry. Ninth pressing, and limited to 1,000 on solid yellow colored vinyl.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Youngblood Thinner

I recently had my eye on some Worn Thin vinyl on eBay. I figured that kids today might not have this band on their radar, and for a second, I gave though to providing a wake up call and posting the auctions on Vinyl Noize.

Whoa! Slow down a second. I need some of this shit. I hoped that maybe I could make a run at some of them, and help build up my anemic Youngblood collection for cheap. In the end, I found myself finishing off my collection of the Remnants 7 inch.

First up is the regular white vinyl press from the second pressing. Limited to 362.

A steal at 99 cents.

The next 99 cent deal on deck is the tour press on white vinyl. This one comes with the special tour lyric sheet.

As another way to differentiate the white vinyl pressings, the dust sleeve for the tour press is also stamped and numbered. 126 out of 138.

The heavy hitter out of this bunch is the record release pressing on clear vinyl with the special vellum cover. This one was for high rollers only...winning bid...$8.

The vellum cover lays nicely over the inside cover that was stamped and numbered for the record release.

Number 31 out of 100.

I started pulling out my Worn Thin 7 inches to see where the collection stood and figured that I'd snap a group photo. Youngblood 7 inch is complete, but I have no idea what may be missing for the self titled Malfunction 7 inch.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

30 Years Of Holy Diver

Last year, Holy Diver turned 30. 30 years old, and this album still kicks my ass...just total Metal perfection from start to finish.

For the anniversary, we didn't just get another pressing of the classic Holy Diver LP. Instead, we get a special vinyl pressing of Dio's live show from 2005, where the band played all of Holy Diver from beginning to end. Some of these songs had never been played live before, so to have them captured here on this recording is a real treat for this fanboy. While this live show was originally released on CD and DVD back in 2006, this 30th Anniversary edition is the first time it has seen a vinyl release.

Unfortunately, in an effort to avoid any ugly edits the actual set list has been adjusted so that the concert could best fit the six sides of this triple LP package. I'm cool with that, but some of the cuts are a mess...most notably when Ronnie James Dio gives a nod to the late Cozy Powell and announces that the next song is the Rainbow classic Gates Of Babylon...only to have Man On The Silver Mountain queue up next in the playlist. Sloppy and inexcusable.

There isn't a week that goes by that I don't listen to one of this man's albums. Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio, Heaven and Hell...they never get old. Long live RJD.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Winds Of Change

I'm really not a big fan of compilations. I am, however, a big fan of REACT!. Therefore, I had to put my prejudices aside for their latest release, the Winds Of Change 7 inch comp.

Once again, Ev and the REACT! crew deliver. This time, they highlight six up and coming bands from today's Hardcore scene. Each one impresses me, and having really only heard Violence To Fade and Enough, I'm looking forward to what the others will bring to the table with future releases.

350 pressed on red vinyl.

All of the bands on this comp are great, but that Violence To Fade song is absolutely amazing.

150 on "smoke" colored vinyl, or more commonly known as "grey".

The packaging on this 7 inch is very well done. With the six panel spread, allowing to change the the band on the cover to whichever one you wish, and wrapped in a screen printed OBI strip, the label continues to deliver quality releases. Another job well done.

500 pressed on black vinyl.

Shortly before the regular pressings shipped, Ev posted on the REACT! Facebook that there was a test press available and hidden in their webstore. Like a bloodhound, I sniffed that bad boy out! The price was a little higher than I would have wanted to pay, but damn, with it staring me in the face, it was too much to resist, and I quickly added it to my cart and checked out.

Nice and clean look, with the white cardboard sleeve and the black and white screened OBI strip.

Number 24 of 24. Doesn't get much better than that.

Test press count for 2014 is at six.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Triple Threat From Turnstile

I've been buying each pressing of Turnstile vinyl since I discovered that first 7 inch back in 2011. I'd missed the pre-order pressing for Pressure To Succeed, and I'd vowed to never let another one get by me. It hasn't been to difficult to keep up so far, but when Reaper released three new colors of both records, I had to pause for a second. Well, I'm in too deep to turn back now.

As much as I dislike the cover for this record, I will say that the multiple vinyl colors all look great with it.

A total of 2,000 pieces of vinyl were pressed for the third pressing, so hopefully it will be a while before I have to sink more money into this one. 400 on silver, 600 on purple, and 1,000 on baby blue.

Reaper changed the b-side labels between the first and second pressing, and it was cool that they changed it again with the third press.

No cool b-side label changes for the third pressing of Pressure To Succeed, but the new orange colors for the cover is a nice touch.

Again, 2,000 pieces were pressed for this run. 300 on blue, 700 on orange, and 1,000 on clear.

Yeah, I know that I'm missing a couple, but I own enough copies of these records, so I figured it was time to get a group shot.